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Bosco Fest III In StamfordBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Monday, August 07, 2006
Stamford, Vt. - An Aug. 6 St. John's Bosco Church free family festival brought all the elements of a church picnic together and then tossed out a community welcome mat.
|Bosco Fest III at the St. John Bosco Church in Stamford, Vt, hosted children's activities such as face-painting.|
A Truly Free Festival
There was free food, including the standard cook-out hamburger-and-hot-dog fare. But also offered at no charge were homemade baked beans, Swedish meatballs, scalloped potatoes, pasta dishes, and barbecued chicken wings. There was fried bread dough being made on the church grounds. There was sliced watermelon, cookies, and other desserts. There were large coolers filled with beverages such as lemonade.
People of all ages gathered under large canopies or participated in a dunking booth or games of volleyball or bingo.
Stamford firefighter Chad Columbus and an exhibit of firefighter gear.
The third "Bosco Fest" was funded completely with community and church member donations and every smidgen of food and every entertainment option was open to the public at no cost.
Roger Bouchard is an active church member and an organizer of many church and church/community events. The community event has its roots as a church family picnic, he said.
"And then one year we just decided to open it up to community," Bouchard said. "Why not? We publicize it through our church newsletter and in churches in Readsboro and other churches. We have people here from Clarksburg and North Adams [Mass.] and a couple from Connecticut and New Hampshire. We're going to keep this going every year. We've had a lot of donations and support from local business owners."
The town volunteer fire department brought three fire trucks to the event and people were able to examine the trucks and a display of firefighter gear. A dunking booth was erected and as the temperatures rose to the upper 80s, the popularity of the booth's dunking seat grew. Over 60 people gathered in shady areas and under the canopies to eat and socialize and later, to play Bingo. Prizes were offered to Bingo winners.
Volleyball and basketball games were included in the day's event roster and a youth dance was scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. with DJ Ryan Denault.
Rich Cristofolini handled grill-master duty.
A Spiritual Element
The town church offers a number of programs for children, older youth and adults, said Bouchard. The Catholic church often works in collaboration with the Stamford Community Church on ecumenical events such as harvest suppers, he said.
"We have programs for youth, for high schoolers and adults," he said. "We offer RCA [instruction in the Catholic faith]. We focus on family and youth. All of our programs have a spiritual element, and all of our programs are free."
Bouchard said the church is planning an outreach initiative that is likely to connect with every home in the town. The church is also working with churches in Readsboro and Wilmington to develop additional youth programs and generate youth involvement.
"Bosco Fest" and similar church-sponsored events rely heavily on the volunteer spirit of church members, who are the folks who help with event set-up, event clean-up, and who prepare the variety of foods served.
The event drew smiles from "best friends" Nicholas Mroz, 3, and Noah Birkland, 3.
"We have tremendous volunteers in our church," Bouchard said. "Just tremendous support."
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 802-823-9367.